Grading U.S. players vs. France
The Jurgen Klinsmann era is starting to take on an unpalatable consistency. The U.S. national team fell 1-0 to a short-handed but talented France side, with substitute Loic Remy netting the game winner in the 72nd minute. But the manner of the defeat will do little to make U.S. fans think better days are ahead. As has happened so often under Klinsmann, the U.S. performance was long on defensive grit but short on creativity, with the American midfield doing little to contribute to the attack. Klinsmann might be just six games into his tenure, but the enthusiasm his appointment generated is eroding fast.
Player ratings: (0-10; 10=best)
G Tim Howard, 7.5: Was sharp once again, saving a shot from Karim Benzema late in the first half and making an astonishing save from his free kick in the 56th minute. Did spill a shot from the French forward in the second half, but the rebound was squandered. Could do little on Remy's game winner.
D Timothy Chandler, 5.5: Did his best to get forward, but there wasn't enough end product. Took care of defensive responsibilities for the most part, but fell asleep on Benzema late in the first half, which resulted in a good opportunity.
D Carlos Bocanegra, 6.5: Made an impressive return to French soil, putting out plenty of fires, although he did fade down the stretch, especially in the air. Despite his advancing age, his lock on one of the center back spots seems iron-clad.
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D Clarence Goodson, 6: Solid in the air and recovered well to snuff out an early Jeremy Menez opportunity. Probably could have done more to stop Remy on the goal, but overall did little to hurt his reputation as a reliable option going forward.
D Steve Cherundolo, 5: Not the first player to struggle against Franck Ribery, but wasn't that impressive on the ball, either, especially from set pieces. That said, he held up well enough defensively.
M Danny Williams, 3.5: His arrival on the U.S. team was announced with plenty of fanfare, but he has yet to justify Klinsmann's praise. Hustled on defense but far too wasteful with the ball.
M Kyle Beckerman, 5: Shaky with his distribution in the first half and struggled to keep up at times, but he grew into the game a bit in the second half. Stepped into passing lanes well and had two critical blocks of goal-bound shots. Still, it seems as though Michael Bradley would be a better option in this role.
M Maurice Edu, 5.5: Delivered some telling passes when given time, but that was in short supply. Played well on defense.
M Brek Shea, 4: Didn't do much to impress the European scouts in attendance. Was rarely a factor with the ball, although he did track back well on occasion.
F Jozy Altidore, 6.5: One of the few attacking bright spots. Did well with the few opportunities he had with the ball at his feet, and his holdup play got better as the game progressed. He even released Clint Dempsey with a clever backheel. On another day, Altidore might have won a first-half penalty.
F Clint Dempsey, 6.5: Was one of the few players to show any comfort on the ball. He was guilty of trying to do too much at times, but got little help from his teammates -- or the referee.
M Jermaine Jones, 5.5: Showed a bit more composure on the ball than his midfield cohorts and helped spur the U.S. to a late flurry at the end.
M DaMarcus Beasley, 5.5: Put in one telling cross that Dempsey probably should have headed on goal himself. Remains a viable option off the bench.
M Fabian Johnson, 5: Had little impact after coming on.
F Edson Buddle, 5.5: His introduction helped stretch the France defense a bit more, winning a corner kick as well as getting in good positions out wide. Needed to be sharper with his crossing, however.
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN.com. He is also the author of "Soccer's Most Wanted II: The Top 10 Book of More Glorious Goals, Superb Saves and Fantastic Free-Kicks." He can be reached at email@example.com.
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